Alexandria/Mount Vernon Column: Help Reduce Gun Violence

Alexandria/Mount Vernon Column: Help Reduce Gun Violence

Commentary– Join effort in Congress.

I was moved and inspired last week by my colleagues — starting with the great civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis — who had the tenacity and creativity to launch a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives to demand a vote on solutions to gun violence.

In the shadow of the June 12 Orlando shootings, members of Congress gathered almost spontaneously on the House floor. When the Republicans shut off the cameras, members of Congress broke House rules to live-stream the events from their phones.

I was impressed when I heard Representative Jim Clyburn — also a powerful figure in the world of civil rights and of gun safety, not only because his district includes Charleston, the site of another horrific shooting — say that our sit-in was his proudest moment in 46 years of public service. It was my proudest moment in 18 months in the House, and I was there all night.

We simply must move forward on gun policy in America. We must find a way to stop the mass shootings, we must find a way to lower the suicide rate, we must find a way, as our Founding Fathers did, to be a thoughtful, structured, fair society. We must not sell guns to those under investigation by the FBI for terrorism. We must have background checks and we must somehow limit the sale of weapons of war that are not needed by ordinary citizens.

I was heartened to see the op-ed by General Stan McChrystal urging veterans to add their voices to the chorus for sensible gun policy in America. I am heartened by Republican Senator Susan Collins and some of her colleagues who are trying to find a compromise, a beginning, across party lines.

I urge you to add your voice in any way you can, and I thank those of you who have contacted my office to lend support. We will persevere.